5 things I learned from Design Thinking with Dan Xavier

By: Traci Picard

October 15, 2016

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The Social Enterprise Greenhouse hosted a workshop with Dan Xavier, who is himself an entrepreneur and currently works in design at Blue Cross Blue Shield. He gave us an overview of the process, then we created a flurry of sticky notes based on his prompts. He demonstrated how to categorize and prioritize our content. It got interesting quickly, as only sharing thoughts with strangers can. Here are 5 key things I learned last Thursday.

  1. We don’t discuss thinking that much in our culture. How do we think? What is the process like? Where did we learn how to solve problems? What baggage are we carrying around collaboration and thinking? Perhaps a little insight into someone else’s process via Design Thinking exercises can help shed light on our own.
  2. Getting into a place of letting go, of getting a little more free with our ideas, comes easier for some of us. Others must be actively brought into the experience. Shared goals and an encouraging team spirit can help us get there together.
  3. Design thinking is a framework, it’s more prompts than rules. It’s a system, there’s no wrong way to explore it. This means that we can all own it collectively, like the sea, and tap into it whenever we get stuck.
  4. Using the spirit of play to get past blockages in problem-solving tricks us into letting ideas out. Design Thinking has the potential to get past the “Serious” thinker many of us present on the outside and bring the innovator inside out to play.
  5. Standing around looking at other people’s scribbled sticky notes covered in their hopes and dreams can inspire a sense of collaboration that comes from vulnerability, from allowing each other to read what keeps us up at night–if you can decipher the handwriting, of course.


Traci Picard
Venture Development Assistant

Traci Picard is a VISTA serving as Venture Development assistant here at SEG. She comes from the world of alternative health, running a small herbal business and teaching classes like Critical Thinking for Herbalists and Asking Better Questions. Traci is also a writer pursuing a Journalism degree, a mother of 3 and a passionate fan of books and the Public Library. Born in Providence, she has lived all over but continues to return home.

Contact: tpicard@segreenhouse.org